LYON, France – The head of the Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Association Football (CONCACAF) reaffirmed the organization’s commitment to fighting corruption in football during a visit to the INTERPOL General Secretariat headquarters in Lyon, and pledged to investigate cases of allegations of match-fixing in the region.
CONCACAF General Secretary Enrique Sanz and Deputy General Secretary Ted Howard met with INTERPOL Secretary General Ronald K. Noble to discuss opportunities for closer cooperation between the two organizations in combating match-fixing and other threats to the sport. The visit came shortly after the announcement by Europol that an investigation into match-fixing uncovered hundreds of new cases of matches that had possibly been fixed around the world.
In response to these allegations, INTERPOL has renewed its commitment to working with football federations in all regions, particularly those outside Europe, to ensure that all allegations of match-fixing are thoroughly investigated.
The recent investigation of a Joint Investigation Team (JIT) involving Europol and national police across Europe, codenamed Operation Veto, revealed 380 suspect football matches in Europe that were already under investigation, but also brought to light some 300 new cases of alleged match-fixing in Africa, Asia and Latin America.
“It is important that CONCACAF and the football community in other regions are given all the leads and evidence uncovered by Operation Veto so we can assess the allegations and take the appropriate actions,” said CONCACAF General Secretary Sanz. “All alleged fixed matches should be identified, individuals that have been involved specified and the perpetrators brought to justice for the future of football to continue its healthy journey to impart good role models to society.”
As part of the organization’s renewed efforts to fight match-fixing, CONCACAF has invited representatives from INTERPOL’s Integrity in Sport programme to speak to players and officials about the dangers posed by match-fixing during the CONCACAF Congress in April. INTERPOL has also offered to support the Gold Cup, CONCACAF’s national championship competition, in July.
“As demonstrated by the sheer number of cases occurring in all regions of the world, match-fixing is truly a global problem, and as such requires a global response,” said INTERPOL Secretary General Noble. “I commend CONCACAF in taking proactive steps towards protecting the sport from this threat, and I call on the authorities involved in the JIT Operation Veto to provide all evidence of possible match-fixing incidents occurring in their jurisdictions to the concerned football federations.”
“As part of CONCACAF’s continuous commitment to preserving the integrity of the game, and in alignment with FIFA guidelines, the confederation is in the process of identifying the necessary measures while setting several relevant preventive provisions in the form of courses and training,” said Mr Sanz, adding that CONCACAF is also working to explore appropriate legislation that will provide the context for parameters of sporting laws to exist.
“CONCACAF invites all other accountable stakeholders to integrate efforts toward finding an optimal solution for these intolerable crimes.
“The football family has to play a fundamental role in this battle against match fixing through education, surveillance and sanction. However, we must work in close partnership with all other affected sports, governments, law enforcement agencies, media, fans and society as a whole,” concluded the CONCACAF Chief.
CONCACAF has also hosted two regional INTERPOL-FIFA Integrity in Sport workshops – the first in August 2012 in Guatemala City, and the second in January 2013 in New York City.